Effort-based decision making has strong conceptual links to the motivational disturbances that define a key subdomain of negative symptoms. However, the extent to which effort-based decision-making performance relates to negative symptoms, and other clinical and functionally important variables has yet to be systematically investigated. In 94 clinically stable outpatients with schizophrenia, we examined the external validity of 5 effort-based paradigms, including the Effort Expenditure for Rewards, Balloon Effort, Grip Strength Effort, Deck Choice Effort, and Perceptual Effort tasks. These tasks covered 3 types of effort: physical, cognitive, and perceptual. Correlations between effort related performance and 6 classes of variables were examined, including: (1) negative symptoms, (2) clinically rated motivation and community role functioning, (3) self-reported motivational traits, (4) neurocognition, (5) other psychiatric symptoms and clinical/demographic characteristics, and (6) subjective valuation of monetary rewards. Effort paradigms showed small to medium relationships to clinical ratings of negative symptoms, motivation, and functioning, with the pattern more consistent for some measures than others. They also showed small to medium relations with neurocognitive functioning, but were generally unrelated to other psychiatric symptoms, self-reported traits, antipsychotic medications, side effects, and subjective valuation of money. There were relatively strong interrelationships among the effort measures. In conjunction with findings from a companion psychometric article, all the paradigms warrant further consideration and development, and 2 show the strongest potential for clinical trial use at this juncture.
- Decision making
- Functional outcome